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Fred Davis Choosing To Address, Not Avoid, Season-Ending Suspension

By ZAC BOYER | zboyer@freelancestar.com | @ZacBoyer

ASHBURN – Fred Davis knows the four-game suspension he incurred at the end of last season is likely to cloud the rest of his career. Unfortunate situations, no matter how serious, have a way of following him.

Davis

“I just understand that this is the way it is,” Davis said Friday. “It’s always going to be talked about, just like [four] years ago when I overslept.”

The Washington Redskins tight end didn’t make it to the first day of rookie minicamp the weekend after he was drafted, claiming at the time his alarm never went off. He’s also currently representing himself in a civil legal dispute with a former friend – one that has been the subject of much ridicule because of the dialogue outlined in court transcripts.

He’s found both issues amusing. What he hasn’t been entertained by is the suspension, in which he and left tackle Trent Williams were each suspended for the final four games of the season for failing a drug test.

“It’s just always something that’s going to stick around, but you’ve just got to prove when you go out there on the field and you play, you show them what you can do and you make good decisions and you’ll be straight,” Davis said.

Davis learned that lesson this past offseason, when, rather than rewarding the tight end with the long-term contract he coveted, the Redskins instead designated him as their franchise player. An unrestricted free agent, Davis never received the opportunity to test the open market, and he’ll play the coming season with a one-year, $5.49 million contract.

“I’m not thinking about that,” Davis said Friday. “I’m fine with what I’ve got. I’m gonna work hard and get what I deserve later, so I’m just gonna keep working. I just want to win.”

Davis set targets of 800 receiving yards and eight to 10 receiving touchdowns before last season began – numbers that were, by far, higher than those he’d reached in his first three years. He nearly matched one of them, finishing with 796 yards on 59 receptions with three touchdowns.

Those numbers came without Chris Cooley, who only played the first five games of the season before he went on injured reserve with inflammation in his left knee. Though Davis enters training camp as the Redskins’ top tight end, Cooley is fully healthy, Logan Paulsen has game experience and Niles Paul has moved inside from receiver to provide the team with another capable receiver.

“I’m excited about competition at the tight end position,” Cooley said. “I think when you see that much competition on a team, it breeds great talent and guys stepping up and performing under pressure, because they have to perform under pressure every day in practice. It will be a big challenge for me, and it will be a big challenge for this team to play good football.”

Davis isn’t focused on stats. He’s not thinking about the suspension. He’s concentrating on his own effort, because he knows it can lead to something.

“Really just win, you know what I mean?” Davis said. “Whenever you get a chance to make a play, just make it. You know, all the yards and all that stuff will make itself, fill itself out.”

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